Friday, June 12, 2015

YOSHI JEN GRILL & SIDES in Springfield, MO

Yoshi means good luck at Yoshi Jen it translates into good food!

Jen tells me: Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese cuisines fuse in the Hawaiian Islands to emerge as Pan-Asian.

Over the last decade, the trend perfected in the major metropolitan areas landed in the Heartland. In the beginning, here in middle-America, the adaption was slow as the imitators went a little too wild with strong overpowering flavors, and unfamiliar names, but recently; we’ve all become more mature and educated. The mild fusion of delicious aroma and flavor known as Pan-Asian are some of our favorite foods in the Ozarks.

Today, many do it well, but no one blends the flavors, atmosphere, and genuine customer service better than Yoshi Jen. The sleek understated furnishings allow the feeling of sunshine to radiate from the pale yellow walls while tiny pastel metallic tiles add the reflection. The small restaurant could easily serve as a model of positive Feng-Sui. Yoshi Jen is proof positive that Asian inspired food does not require diners to eat in the dark. This establishment might be the cleanest I have had the pleasure of patronizing. Even the floor is spotless. Yoshi Jen is a happy place.

The food is delicious! I should know, it is my neighborhood spot, a place where I feel completely comfortable going alone any time of day. Dine-in, carry-out, it is consistently wonderful.

Beef Bulgogi
I often order Beef Bulgogi. I love the flavor, but like many people I try not to eat so much beef as health professionals claim too much is unhealthy. However, the fermentation process used in Bulgogi actually destroys the unhealthy cholesterol making it a more healthy option. It is a signature style dish. The flavor variations range from strongly fermented and spicy hot and often topped with a spoonful of warmed kimchi to slightly fermented with a sweet barbeque flavor. Jen’s Beef Bulgogi is a marriage of flavors mild and understated without any precocious offenders that leave a sour after-taste. But the Bulgogi is not all Yoshi Jen has to offer, for me the stir-fried rice with salmon is a close second. The combination of stir-fried rice, corn, and salmon is comfort food at its best.

Pickled Cucumber
The Beef Bulgogi as well as the other special dinners come with steamed rice and two sides. Jen’s sides feature fun, uncommon choices: Pickled Radish, Sweet Chili Broccoli, Pickled Cucumber, Sweet Soy Potato with Carrots, Island Potato Salad, Green Beans, and the not so uncommon Noodles. My favorite: the Island Potato Salad consists of tiny chopped pieces of browned potato tossed in a creamy flavorful dressing that I believe is sour cream and chives. The zesty sweet vinegar soaked cucumbers are an excellent choice as well.

Katsu Chicken
My youngest son’s favorite is the Katsu Chicken with just a slight hint of cinnamon and allspice. A taste we have yet to duplicate at home despite several attempts. My oldest son loves Jen’s Crab Rangoon and Chicken Teriyaki and reminds me we must visit Jen’s every time he comes home to the Ozarks.

Tea is a Treat!
Jen, the owner, is a delight. She appreciates her customers and always goes out of her way to meet their needs. Her prices are shockingly good for gourmet quality food. Go once and I bet it won’t be the last!  
Crunchy Sushi Roll

Find the Full Menu & Like Yoshi Jen on Facebook!